Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Europa League: Clarke set for Reykjavik with Glentoran

Richard Clarke

Glentoran may be short on numbers going into their Europa League first qualifying round tie with KR Reykjavik, but one player has again shown his commitment to the club to ensure he will line out in Iceland tomorrow.

The Glens headed north yesterday afternoon, minus Colin Nixon, Ciaran Martyn and James Taylor who are all on holiday, Paul Leeman who is still recovering from injury and the suspended Matty Burrows.

Richard Clarke was also among the missing having also been on his travels, but he will land back in Northern Ireland today before heading off to Reykjavik on his own to meet up with the rest of the squad.

Boss Scott Young, who will be in charge of the team’s training and preparation before undertaking a watching brief from the Directors’ Box — with Roy Coyle barking out the orders from the sidelines — due to his lack of relevant coaching badges, again took the time to pour praise on Clarke.

The former Newry City captain had been made available to other clubs at the end of last season as part of a cost-cutting measure by the Glens but has since been taken off the transfer list after taking a cut in salary to remain at the Oval.

“It’s just the sort of attitude we need here in what has been a tough few months for everyone associated with Glentoran,” said boss Young.

“Richard came to us saying that he would take a cut to stay here,

he didn’t have to do that, so I really can’t praise him, or Andy Waterworth (who also took a pay cut), enough.

“Clarkie’s going to join up with us in Iceland and again that just shows how much he wants to succeed at this club.”

It’s fair to say that those Glentoran players who had taken off on holiday probably weren’t expecting to be taking part in competitive action this early in the summer, but a poor season has put them in this position.

The Glens warmed up for the trip to Reykjavik with a 2-0 defeat to The New Saints at the Oval on Saturday, a game which clearly showed that while the east Belfast men are relatively fit, they are lacking in sharpness — and that could be their downfall.

But since the weekend, Coyle and Young have been studying DVDs of their opponents and the only thing that might give the duo cause for concern is the fact that KR are well into their season.

The capital side are currently ninth in their league — which isn’t that far ahead of the Carling Premiership in terms of technical ability — after nine games and have picked up just two wins.

The Glens arrived in Reykjavik late last night and will train at the 2700 capacity KR-Vollur stadium today in preparation for tomorrow evening’s game.

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